Building A Cubs Champion: Curses! Foiled Again!

This post isn't going to be about what you think, at least not from the title (yeah, I decided to get cute. So sue me).

Fred Merkle's curse. Goats. Black cats. Bartman. These are things that you haven't seen me discuss much here -- because what do they have to do with baseball? To me, they seem the lazy mass media reporter's crutch for trying to explain the inexplicable.

Think about it. There are a number of other teams, both baseball and other professional sports, that have had championship droughts of decades -- some now broken -- and never did you hear about such frivolous things. Only the Red Sox had one (and JUST one) -- the "Curse of the Bambino" -- and that wasn't real, it was the invention of a Boston sportswriter, Dan Shaughnessy, in the 1980's. The White Sox (88 years, now broken), the Indians (60 years), the Giants (54 years) in baseball; the New York Rangers (54 years, now broken), the Blackhawks (47 years) in hockey; the Detroit Lions (51 years) and the Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona Cardinals (61 years), all teams with long title droughts -- no excuses, no cutesy little stories, nothing.

So why do the Cubs have these? Why are we the ONLY team with a sports drought that has it shoved down our throats? It can't be simply the length of the drought -- the White Sox drought was nearly as long before it was broken. Part of the answer lies in what I said above -- laziness on the part of mass media reporters and columnists. Not wanting to delve into the real problems, they fall back on something easy, something they've heard of.

It doesn't help matters any when the chairman of the team -- and don't get me wrong, I happen to like Crane Kenney and what he's done for this team in the last two years -- hires a priest to spray holy water in the dugout before the first game of the NLDS, just after Lou Piniella had carefully spent the entire season getting his team to concentrate on nothing but baseball.

And focusing on baseball is the way it should be. I thought long and hard before making this post (figuring it'd probably be taken the wrong way), but since this kind of stuff has been heaped on us, it's time for it to stop. No more baseballs blown up and served in pasta. If you as a fan are asked to give an interview about goats, walk away from the camera. If some fan of another team taunts you about Bartman (and I can't understand the Cardinals fans who buy a jersey with their team name on it with "BARTMAN" on the back. What's THAT about?), just turn the other cheek.

This is the last time you will see me write about ANY of this stuff on this site. Why did I do it this time? Because these things have been part of Cubs lore and I think they shouldn't be. We need to leave them in the dust and focus on management and players. This is a call to reporters, columnists, and yes, team management.

Stop the cute stuff. Ignore it. Be done with it. I am.

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